Don’t forget your passports!
If your cruise has an online check-in, use it.
Notify your banks/CC companies, where and when you are going, (BEFORE YOU LEAVE!) especially if you are going to be leaving the country. If you don’t, your money will not be available to you.
Skip ATM fees, you can avoid ATM fees by using casino machines to withdraw cash. Yes, you will want to have cash on hand when you go ashore at ports of call.
You will find a safe in your stateroom, use it. Don’t leave valuables lying about.
Be careful with your cell phone. Roaming rates apply out of the country and can rack up fast. We actually look for a McDonalds or a Starbucks that offers free Wi-Fi when we are ashore. That will enable you to check in and check up on things at home for FREE! (use Wi-Fi calling!)
Pay attention to what is included in your vacation package. Excursions, certain foods and beverages, and spa treatments are not included. If your family members drink soda, you will want to buy a drink pass. (They do offer an adult version of the drink pass as well!)
Pack the essentials in your carry on. Your luggage may not be delivered to your room for a while. A swimsuit, sunscreen, and a change of clothes are good examples, not to mention any medications you may need. Denise has a travel checklist that comes in handy. You don’t want to be buying items on board that you could have brought from home!
Don’t overpack. They do have a dress up dinner/picture night on most cruises, so pack more than just your shorts and swimsuits!
Book early excursions, this will assist in your efforts to be done on time and back on board before they cast off without you. if the excursion is running late, they’ll delay ship departure until the excursion returns, but only if you booked through the ship.
The cruise lines caution about finding your own excursions when you get ashore, but there are pros and cons. Just weigh them out. We scored an awesome helicopter tour of Grand Turk onshore, at half the price advertised on board.
Port Departures – Return to the ship much earlier than when you are told to return. Cruise ships are on a tight schedule and you will get left at the port if you are not on time!
Carnival offered awesome ship events, like dancing, musicals, bingo, how to create towel creature classes, and so much more. One of the things we participated in was a ships tour. It took us from the galley to the bridge! Get in on the excitement.
Anytime dining, choose it, use it! Some of our port days ended later than others, so we wanted the freedom to eat as we chose. With the anytime dining option, you can head to the main restaurant at the most convenient time for you.
Carnival is known in part for its upscale offerings on the dinner menu. I suggest you order something you have never tried before, like the duck or lobster bisque. If you don’t like it, you can always order something else. Where else can you try new and unusual menu items for free? Hungry, order two, it’s okay!
When all is said and done, you are on vacation, relax and enjoy!
I shared more of our cruising adventures in these post: We loved Cozumel…, The fun pics… Cozumel and The creatures afloat… and I fear, not just on Carnival! Be sure to check them out as well!
Let me share with you the most important thing I have discovered. Where ever you go, whatever you see, share it with others! Don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses, to share a smile with a stranger, a meal with friends and build memories together that will last a lifetime!
All photographs in this post were taken by the author, Bill McQueen, amateur photographer, food enthusiast and sometimes traveler.